Thursday, April 23, 2015

Beer Keller Season!

This weekend (April 25-26) is the official opening of beer garden season at Forchheim´s Kellerwald (30 minutes from Nürnberg)- a series of beer kellers in the forest. It´s one of my favorite places to spend a day.

The Kellers are all close to each other (some right next to each other) making it super easy to try their various beers and light fare (Brotzeit).

More on this weekend´s celebration (in German) here. On Sunday there is a beer Keller tour (1.5 hours €4 adults or €8 for an entire family) at 16:00 with a beer tasting immediately after (additional €5). Tickets available at the tourist office Haupstraße 24, about a 10 minute walk from the train station. Note: Sunday´s tour is in German, but the tour may also be booked in English in advance. More information here.

A 36km bike tour of Forchheim area Bier Kellers can be found here.

Why are they called Beer Kellers (cellars) instead of beer gardens? Beer Kellers are most often on a mountain or a hill. Beer was (and often still is!) stored in tunnels in the mountain/hill to keep it cold. Naturally, having a beer garden on the hill close to where the beer is stored makes sense. Many brewers brew a special "Keller Bier" specifically for their guests on the Keller. Keller beers can be vastly different from the main beer a brewery is known for. More on Keller Bier from the German Bier Institute here.

Other suggested Bier Kellers?

- In Erlangen, Entla´s Keller. Entla´s Keller offers a large menu and great beers. What sets Entla´s apart, in my opinion, is their event calendar and live music. Open April to September daily at 11am, during Bergkirchweih at 9am. No parking on site. Sunday´s at 11am you can take a tour of the caverns the beer is stored in (in German adults €6 including a beer, children under 12 free).

- Bamberg (45 minutes from Nürnberg) has many in the region. A list, compiled by Stadt Bamberg may be found here. 7.5k walking tour that includes many may be found here.  My favorite in the city is Spezial Keller. Well worth the long walk up the hill from the city for the view alone. For those driving, there is somewhat limited parking available.
Open every day (including holidays!!) except Mondays in good weather, April - September. Though Spezi Keller is open year round, hours vary in other months-check the website. You have the option to bring your own food, or select from their extensive menu and daily specials. There is a small, but adequate, play area for children.

- Also in Bamberg, Wilde Rose Keller is next to Spezial Keller. offering similar views. A more limited menu of Brotzeit (smaller meals), but also good, or bring your own. As with Spezial, they brew a special Keller Bier. From April to September open every day at 4pm (Sundays and holidays from 3). 

- Outside of Bamberg (15 minutes by car, approx. 1 hour from Nürnberg) Felsenkeller on Senftenberg. Open May - September Monday -Friday from 16:30 in good weather only, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 1pm (open in bad weather on weekends). You have the option to bring your own food, but they have a huge menu including breads baked on-site in a wood burning stove and fresh churned butter- well worth the trip. They do not brew their own beer, rather, they serve Gunzendorfer.  Due to the remote location, public transportation would prove difficult. Child friendly.
Senftenberg Keller
Do you have a favorite Bier Keller? Tell us in comments! 

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